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Mailboxes are filling up across the state as politicians vie for your votes by sending out handy postcards and fliers promoting themselves as everything from pro-veteran to anti-sex offender.

Some of the most hilarious mailers are being sent out by House Speaker Michael Madigan’s political operation on behalf of Sue Scherer, a school teacher from Decatur who is running for a seat in the Illinois House against Republican Dennis Shackelford of Rochester.

The first in a series of at least 10 Scherer mailers starts out like this: “Want to fix state government? Send a teacher, not a politician.”

Attention politicians: Once you begin running for office, you are a politician.

The fourth postcard in the series is headlined: “With $350 million you could buy your own tropical island. Or just cover the cost for one year of Illinois’ Medicaid fraud.”

The point of this ad is apparently to make sure voters know that she isn’t pro-fraud.

Similarly, Scherer has another mailer saying she’s not pro-sex offender.

To show she cares about old people, the Madigan money also paid for an ad saying Scherer will protect Social Security and Medicare, even though those are federal programs that she will have no oversight over as a member of the Illinois legislature.

But the mailer drawing the biggest guffaws is No. 7 in the series, which shows a scene of downtown Chicago and says, “Greetings from Chicago. A nice place to visit. A bad place to send our education dollars.”

The Chicago bashing is hilarious, given that most of the money for her campaign is coming from a Chicago politician.

Nothing like a grade school teacher to treat voters like grade school students.

The heat is on

Someone needs to get Democrat David Gill a thermometer.

During a radio interview last week, the emergency room doctor from Bloomington, who is running for Congress in the 13th district, had this to say about the March 20 primary election:

“I’m on this ballot because of 31,000 people that went out on a cold March day to put me on the ballot,” he said.

Temperatures across central Illinois were in the low 80s on March 20.

Negative ads

U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, the Urbana Republican who ran for re-election during the primary and then dropped out of the race for the 13th congressional district, criticized the attack ads dominating the race between Gill and Republican Rodney Davis.

“The 13th district in Illinois has become in many ways a cesspool for negativity,” Johnson said last week.

Johnson, who served six terms in Congress, suggested the nastiness could raise the profile of John Hartman, an independent candidate from Edwardsville who often is left out of news coverage of the race because he’s not slinging mud.

“I’m suggesting that when the two major parties engage in this kind of conflict, that the independent will inevitably benefit from it,” Johnson said.

Hartman said he didn’t know if the Super PAC-fueled negative ads were helping him win more support.

“I am not conducting any polling. I have told Rodney and David that I would not say anything negative about them or their policies, and they both appreciated it. I think this is the best approach for our democracy,” Hartman said in an email.

Giving up?

There is still a month left before the election, but campaign finance records don’t paint a very rosy picture for Republican Mark Minor, who is trying to knock off state Sen. Gary Forby of Benton in the 59th Senate District.

Minor, a pastor from Benton, ended the most recent quarter with less than $1,400 in his campaign account. Since then he’s raised just $1,000.

That’s not a lot of dough to work with.

Redistricting redux

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeal from Illinois Republicans who challenged the new Democratic-drawn legislative maps.

Republicans claimed the new legislative and congressional district boundaries, which are redrawn every decade to account for changes in population, were unconstitutional and designed to help Democrats retain their control over the General Assembly.

Even though everyone knew this going in, Republicans nonetheless fought the map all the way up to the highest court in the land.

The Republicans may have lost, but their attorney Phil Luetkehans of Itasca walked away with a taxpayer-paid largesse of $560,000, according to state payroll records.

In some fights only the lawyers win.

Kurt Erickson can be reached at kurt.erickson@


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